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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Rich (04/26/12)

TITLE: Keystone Changes
By Sandra Renee Hicks


Rich, the building janitor, joyously abides in God. He’s happy to share the love of Jesus.

It’s Monday morning in the Keystone office building where Rich works.

In the hallway, Rich cheerfully greets folks as he usually does.

Merle, the section grouch, sits in his office and listens. He grudgingly thinks, “Why is that lowly man always so happy? He’s a janitor. What can possibly keep him so happy?!”

Merle walks to his office door and locks eyes with the janitor.

Merle’s unpleasant demeanor never fazes Rich. “Good morning, Merle.”

Merle closes the door right in Rich’s face.

Rich smiles and continues his work.

Later, Dale, the office director, goes to Merle’s office to discuss Merle’s rapidly declining work performance.

Among other things, Dale says, “You have ninety days to improve your performance, Merle. If it doesn’t rise to the necessary standards, we have no choice but to separate you from the company.”

Merle bellows, “I’m an asset here. Your attacks are personal, Dale. You’ve never liked me.”

Calmly, Dale responds, “If your performance and behavior doesn’t improve, Merle, your days here are numbered.”

Dale exits.

Merle seethes. He thinks, “Who does he think he is to criticize my performance? I’m not thinking about that fool and his petty expectations.”

The next morning Dale meets with Rich.

“Rich, you’re a treasure to have on board. Your work ethic is superb and your attitude is consistently pleasant.”

Rich beams.

He gleefully replies, “Thank you, Mr. Dale.”

“You’re certainly welcome, Rich. We’re more than satisfied with how you perform your duties. Our desire is that you receive training to move up to a position that’s more suitable to your talents.”

Rich sits wide-eyed with joyous anticipation.

Dale continues, “It certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed that you habitually excel. Frequently, the building “grapevine” buzzes with how you impressively handle your work. In six months, the concierge is retiring. How’d you like to train to be the building’s next concierge?”

Rich can barely contain his excitement. He knows, though, that he must first seek the Lord about the offer.

“Mr. Dale, I’m flattered that you have such confidence in me and my work performance. Thank you so much. May I let you know my answer in the morning?”

“Sure, Rich.”

They shake hands and return to their work responsibilities.

At home, Rich prays and gets the Lord’s seal of approval to accept Dale’s offer.

The Lord shares, “My son, the set time has come for you to enjoy more of My favor. Your faithfulness is on record with Me and I’m delighted to promote you.”

Rich raises his hands to God in praise. “Thank You, Lord, so much for Your love, truth and favor.”

“You’re certainly welcome, my Rich son in whom I AM well pleased.”

The following morning, Rich informs Dale that he’s on board to prepare for his promotion to concierge.

In the meantime, Merle is becoming more unglued. He’s a mess.

One afternoon Rich walks by Merle’s office and observes him with his head on his desk.

Quietly, Rich steps in and asks, “Are you OK, Merle?”

Merle raises his head. Tears stream down his face as he yells, “No, I’m not OK nor am I desperate enough to share my pain with you, lowly man!”

Rich aches for Merle but says nothing as he calmly leaves Merle’s office. He prays, “Lord please help Merle.”

A few weeks later, Rich is sweeping in the garage. He notices a car running with no visible occupant.

Rich approaches and sees Merle slumped over on the front seat unconscious.
He’d attempted suicide.

Rich dials 911, breaks the car window and unlocks the door. He calls out, “Merle, Merle!”

No response.

The ambulance transports Merle.

Thanks to Rich’s appearance in the garage, Merle lives.

Rich visits him in the hospital.

Merle’s brush with potential death has softened him. He apologizes to Rich and profusely thanks him for saving his life.

Merle realizes that there’s a reason his life was spared. He’s now ripe to hear Rich share about the gospel of the kingdom of God.

Rich leads Merle to the Lord.

Merle joins the church where Rich attends and over the weeks, he soaks himself in the Lord and His Word.


Merle improves so much that not only does he keep his job but months later, he’s promoted.

Rich aced his training and is now the concierge. The building occupants and visitors love him and how he spreads and shares love.

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This article has been read 384 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Marina Rojas05/03/12
We all know people exactly like your characters, and it was nice to have this story end on such a positive note. I was reminded of the "Goofus and Gallant" stories of the Children's Magazine "Highlights" the way it is written. Thanks for sharing.
Sandra Renee Hicks 05/03/12
Hi -

Thank you for your kind and encouraging words.

Puzzled as to how all of those question marks show up with my post of this piece?
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/03/12
This is a great story. I loved the characters and the conflict you built up.

The only thing I noticed is the transitions between paragraphs was a bit rough. Perhaps mixing up the sentence structure a bit would cut down on that.

The ending was great. I loved the play on Rich's name and how happy he was as a janitor. What a message for us all.
Sandra Renee Hicks 05/03/12
Hi -

Thank you...pleased that, for the most part, you enjoyed the story. Also, I appreciate your tips.

Note: Earlier when I viewed this, a bunch of question marks were inserted into my piece. I had no idea how those question marks got there...thankful that they have been removed.
Leola Ogle 05/03/12
I loved your take on the topic "Rich" that was used as the man's name in this.Loved the happy ending, especially for Merle. God bless.
Hiram Claudio05/04/12
I too enjoyed the successful twist on the theme topic. I enjoyed also how the MC (Rich) prayed first before accepting the position - nice touch.

This was well written and a very 'feel good' read. Nicely done!
C D Swanson 05/04/12
Oh I really loved this entry. I was moved from beginning to end. So well written and it touched my heart. Thank you for this.

GOd Bless~
Genia Gilbert05/06/12
this makes a great point, both of how riches can change, and of what true riches really are. thanks.
Edmond Ng 05/07/12
An interesting read showing how having the Lord can make a difference and change things around. Well done!